Category Archives: The Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation

Graham Burchell at Exeter Poetry Festival 2012

It is my pleasure to be able to formally confirm that Exeter Poetry Festival will be taking place this year from 4th-6th October at a variety of venues across the city. This year, Cyprus Well is working in partnership with ExCite Poetry Stanza and Apples and Snakes to produce the third annual festival. This year’s primary funder is Arts Council England, with additional support from the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation. Exeter University’s Andy Brown is also due a mention, both in his capacity as organiser for the PhD poets event, and as a poet in his own right. More detail on the full programme will be provided imminently.

In the meantime, I wanted to announce that we’ll be hosting a special book launch for South West Poet, Graham Burchell. His collection The Chongololo Club is of particular interest to us, given the fact that Graham was awarded a TLC Free Read from Cyprus Well, and we are proud to say we played a small part in helping him develop as a writer. The hard work was down to him though, and we’re delighted to see the fruits of his labours in this exciting new collection.

The Chongololo Club is a compelling recreation of the poet’s time in Zambia in the early 1980’s; a series of vivid snapshots that captures the people, the wildlife, the politics with colours ‘brash enough’ for this ‘dark continent’ as we slide down it alongside him – ‘glass in hand, whisky gone, just a melting ice-cube cold’ against our teeth.

‘These poems have the virtues of close observation and personal engagement in their accounts of living and teaching in Africa. Flora, fauna, people, loneliness, culture-shock, compassion and humour all contribute to making this collection haunting and coherent. The poet sustains triumphantly the demands of his particular subject material.’

–       Penelope Shuttle

‘Graham Burchell’s ‘The Chongololo Club’ is a wonderful book. Full of the sights and sounds of Africa he clearly loved, he is not blind to its occasional horror; nevertheless he convinces us of its beauties through his careful observation, his ear for its many languages and his eye for telling detail. His style of writing serves his subject matter, but he is not afraid of demanding forms such as the pantoum. If you want your poetry to be pleasurable, you will enjoy this book.’

–       Ian Duhig

Join us for South West launch of Graham’s book on Saturday 6th October in Exeter Central Library at 2pm.

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National Poetry Day 2010: Andy Brown and Alice Oswald at Exeter Poetry Festival

Exeter Poetry Festival is delighted to announce the sponsorship of The Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation, who will be supporting the opening event of the festival in 2010.

The Ronald Duncan Reading will take place at Exeter Central Library on the evening of 7th October 2010, National Poetry Day, and will feature two of the region’s most acclaimed poets, Alice Oswald and Andy Brown.

Alice Oswald lives in Devon and is married with three children. Dart, her second collection, won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002 for Weeds and Wild Flowers. Alice won the inaugural Ted Hughes award for new work in 2010. Her most recent collection, Woods etc, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T. S. Eliot Prize.

Andy Brown is the author and editor of 10 books of poetry including, most recently, Goose Music (with John Burnside, Salt 2008), Fall of the Rebel Angels: poems 1996-2006 (Salt 2006) and The Storm Berm (tall lighthouse 2008). He is Director of Creative Writing at Exeter University and was previously Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation at Totleigh Barton.

The Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation exists to encourage and support creative excellence in the arts, especially poetry, drama and literature and to sustain interest and research in the work associated with its namesake, the poet and playwright, Ronald Duncan. Duncan’s archive is now housed at the University of Exeter as part of their Special Collections hub for research into South West based writers. Please see our Ronald Duncan page for more details.

Full programme and ticketing details for EPF 2010 will be announced in June.